Friday, August 28, 2009

Flyers Advance to Semis in GOFL Playoffs

It was a chilly one at the ball park in Quyon last night, but still a good crowd showed up to welcome home the Quyon COMBAT Flyers in their return from the Tournament of Champions. Last night, the Flyers were up against the Blitz in GOFL playoff action, with their best of 3 series tied at 1-1. To lose to the Blitz last night would have been a complete let-down after they played so well in Rock Island last week.

The Flyers did not disappoint the hometown crowd, as they looked very solid throughout the game, eventually earning a 3-1 win and they will advance to the semi-finals against Team Easton. Apparently I'm not very good at getting details right, so for a game report, check out . They also broke out the new black uniforms last night for the first time at home, and they looked pretty sharp!

The Flyers will take on Easton on Tuesday night in Stittsville, and will be back in Quyon on Thursday night. The beer tasted pretty good last night, so I might have to have a few more next week...


Thursday, August 27, 2009

There She Was, Just A-Walkin' Down the Street

God, am I glad to have a new iPod. I'm not sure how I survived 6 months without it.

As most of you already know, I rang in 2009 horribly after I realized I left my car un-locked on New Year's Eve outside the local watering hole, and discovered my iPod had been stolen while I was in the hotel for only about half an hour.

The place was deserted. It was 3 o'clock in the morning. Who the hell was out on an iPod-thieving mission, dammit?!

Anyways, I lost my beloved gift that a group of friends had given me last summer for my birthday, and couldn't immediately afford to replace it. Then, for my birthday this year, my family all contributed to the "Replace Jill's Lost iPod Fund", and shortly thereafter, I had a shiny new blue 16 GB iPod Nano in my possession.

So once again, I'm hitting the streets of the Q for my nightly walks. It's been difficult - I haven't been very active this summer, and it's hard getting back in the swing of things - but the iPod sure does help, especially the Walking Playlist I've created. It's amazing how some songs don't seem like they are fast-paced at all, but I've discovered that some of them have the perfect beat to walk to. Of course, there are those fun high-tempo dance songs that are also perfect for hitting the pavement. I'm going to share my Walking Playlist with you, in case any of you feel the need to walk it out...These songs should get ya going!

That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings
Kiss on Me - Tyler Hilton
Moneytalks - AC/DC
Shake That Ass for Me - Eminem ft. Nate Dogg
I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight - U2
Wild at Heart - Gloriana
4 Minutes - Madonna ft. Justin Timberlake
I Gotta Feeling - The Black Eyed Peas
Gold Digger - Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx
California Love - Tupac ft. Dr. Dre
How Bizarre - OMC
Love You Til the End - The Pogues (OK, this is one of my favourite songs of all time, I could listen to it anywhere, anytime - but it really does have a good tempo for walking!)
Boots or Hearts - The Tragically Hip
SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
Black Horse & the Cherry Tree - KT Tunstall
Shake It - Metro Station
Anna Turn it Up - Oliver Pigott
Through & Through & Through - Joel Plaskett
Ride Wit Me - Nelly
Numba 1 (Tide is High) - Kardinal Offishal ft. Keri Hilson
I Hate My Life - Theory of a Deadman
Get Low - Lil John and Da Eastside Boyz
Fire Burning - Sean Kingston
Crazy Girls - Bethany Joy Lenz
When the Night Feels My Song - Bedouin Soundclash
Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny) - AR Rahman ft. The Pussycat Dolls
Bubbly - Colbie Caillat

So there - if you walked throughout this entire playlist, you're looking at a 2-hour walk, folks! And of course, there are a billion other good songs to keep you marching along - this is just what I've got on rotation right now.

Happy walking!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Flyers Finish in Top 8 at ToC

The Quyon COMBAT Flyers headed to Quad Cities, Illinois/Iowa last week for the ISC II Tournament of Champions, hoping to improve upon their 2007 appearance, for which they were both under-manned and inexperienced.

Not only did the 2009 version of the Flyers improve, they impressed.

Ranked #27 heading into the tournament, they were certainly one of the lesser-known clubs in Rock Island, and likely not viewed as much of a threat compared to the infamous names of Ottawa Team Easton, Waterdown Hammer, Port Elgin Blue Devils, and Ashland Stockpack.

However, Quyon placed first in their division pool, with a 3-1 record, earning them a bye through the first round of the playoffs, and in their first ToC playoff action, they met up with their GOFL league rivals, Team Easton.

I have to admit - when I heard who their first playoff opponent would be, I was pretty sure their ToC magic had run out. Ranked #2, Team Easton is one of the best-known clubs in North America, well-established and boasting a veteran line-up. Easton = The Best of the Best. They have been a familiar foe for the Flyers for years, having met up with them countless times in league play and in tournaments. Wins against Easton have been hard to come by.

But it turns out, the magic hadn't run out at all. In fact, the Flyers managed a 1-0 victory against their league rivals, with Matt Greer hitting a solo homerun for the only offence of the game, Steve McCord making a reportedly stellar catch at the fence to keep it that way, and Joran Graham tossing a no-hitter.

Advancing to the Quarterfinals, the Quyon boys were immediately up against the #4 ranked team Ashland Stockpack, from Ohio. This game was broadcast live on, so I spent the afternoon on the edge of my seat, listening to the game while also following, where there was live blogging of the game. My speaker was pretty muffled, so I was able to fill in the blanks by reading the blog.

Quyon took an early 3-0 lead in the game, and visions of semi-finals danced in my head. I had never wanted to be at a ball game so badly in my life. Especially since there apparently was an Ashland fanbase in attendance, and I could hear them screaming and cheering and banging their cowbells right through the radio feed. It was driving me insane!! They were pretty quiet once Quyon took the lead, but Ashland battled back, giving them plenty to go crazy about.

In the bottom of 7, Ashland at bat, with two outs, and the scored tied at 3, I was a bundle of nerves. Seriously. I had bitten my fingernails as low as they could go, and the butterflies in my stomach were flying. Imagine if we could take this to extra innings and win? Imagine if we made it to the Top 4?? That alone would be a massive coup for the team! It would be just about as good as winning the whole damned thing! I was already planning the celebration we would have at the airport when the team landed if they could pull off this win...

Unfortunately, it was not to be. Ashland had runners on first and third, and apparently a high chopper was hit to second (read: Luke), and the radio announcer said he misplayed it and the run scored, Ashland wins 4-3. I swore a little bit. Okay. A lot.

But after the dust settled, and I sat back and reflected on what an amazing run the guys had all week long - well, they almost were deserving of an airport celebration. They went into that tournament as nobodies, and now a lot of people know who they are in the fastpitch world. Every team they beat was more highly-ranked than they were, and they certainly turned some heads down there.

A big CONGRATS to the Flyers on an impressive tournament, and especially to Nick Armitage for making it to the ISC Tournament of Champions All-Tournament Team. They had an amazing week, and I, for one, was sad to see it come to an end. The good news is that Michigan is only a year away, and with that much more experience under their belts, who knows what the 2010 ToC might hold for the small-town squad that are making a big name for themselves!!

We all have the perfect opportunity to welcome the Flyers back , as they take on the Blitz in their league playoffs this Thursday night in Quyon at 8 PM. It's a crucial do-or-die game, as they need to win to advance in the GOFL playoffs. Spread the word!

See you at the ball park!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Flyers are Playoff Bound!

Another quick update from the ISC II Tournament of Champions in Quad Cities, Illinois/Iowa:

The Quyon COMBAT Flyers have completed their round of games in their pool, finishing with an impressive 3-1 record, and much more respectable compared to the first time they played in the ToC 2 years ago, when they went winless.

Yesterday's game was moved from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM, due to rain delays the day before. In their fourth and final contest, they were up against an un-ranked team from Iowa, the Dubuque Hammerheads. The Flyers defeated the Hammerheads soundly, with a 9-2 score. Chad Hargrove pitched for the win, and Nick Armitage helped the cause by hitting a homerun. 2 RBIs are credited to Armitage and Shawn Laframboise, while Steve McCord and my bro added single RBIs.

With this victory, the Flyers have guaranteed themselves a spot in the playoff round. However, first they must wait out the last of the games today to see where other teams end up before finding out when and who they play next.

Advancing to the playoffs is a huge accomplishment for Quyon, so congrats to them and good luck!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Kenny Chesney Heaven

There was a time during the Kenny Chesney concert last night at Scotiabank Place, about half-way through the show, when the man himself stood at centre stage and explained that he'd been in the business for 16 years, and this was their first time playing Ottawa. He paused for a moment, gazed out at the crowd, and said something like this: "Judging by how awesome you guys are tonight, I'd say we waited 16 years too long..."

And the place went absoultely crazy.

Fans cheered, screamed, and went wild for about 5 whole minutes, while KC stood, sipping from his water bottle, nodding his head and laughing.

For a lot of Kenny Chesney fans in attendance, 16 years was well worth the wait.

He brought along with him Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert, two opening acts that warmed the crowd up to a frenzy for him. I was especially impressed with Lambert, as I wasn't a huge fan of hers before, but she won me over with her strong set and her rockin' redneck-chick attitude. She killed a cover of Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'N Roll", and I also loved "Dead Flowers", "Kerosene", and "Gunpowder and Lead".

Lady Antebellum has been one of my favourite new groups for the past year, and they didn't disappoint either, churning out "Love Don't Live Here Anymore", "Lookin' for a Good Time", and their first #1 hit in Canada, "I Run to You". Next CD purchase is definitely going to be some Lady A!

When Kenny finally came swinging into the arena in a seat suspended from above as he opened the show with "Live Those Songs", that's when the party really began. He made his way through all of his biggest hits, including "When the Sun Goes Down", "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems", "Young", "Keg in the Closet", "Beer in Mexico", and "Living in Fast Forward".

He slowed things down at times, but even then, it was pure magic and didn't dampen the party atmosphere at all. I particularly loved "I Go Back", as a disco ball spun high above the arena amidst blue lighting, making it feel like we were all underwater. The poignant lyrics resonated: "I go back to a pew, preacher and a choir, singing 'bout God and brimstone and fire, and the smell of Sunday chicken after church. I go back to the loss of a real good friend, and the sixteen summers I shared with him - Now 'Only the Good Die Young' stops me in my tracks..." It chokes me up everytime, but hearing it live was special.

Another highlight for me was probably my favourite KC song, "Anything But Mine". That song contains one of my favourite song lyrics of all time: "And as we are dancing, Mary's wrapping her arms around me, and I can feel the sting of summer on my skin." Any better line to hear on a hot August night, surrounded by other Kenny fans? I don't think so. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

Of course, the laid-back Southern flavour was strong all night long, as Mr. Chesney makes it no secret that he loves to spend his time down south on a beach with a drink in his hand and guitar at his side. That comes out in a lot of his music, but none more so that in "Everybody Wants to Go To Heaven", which has such an awesome Carribean vibe.

It was also nice to hear some of his older tunes, including "Back Where I Come From", "Me and You", and "Don't Happen Twice", the stuff that made us all first fall in love with Kenny Chesney. And then, to hear his latest hit, "Went Out Last Night", a reminder of why we all still love Kenny after all these years!

For the encore, what else but "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy"?? By that point, it was the only song left that we hadn't heard that we all knew had to be played. It was the song that shot Kenny Chesney to super-stardom, and had every girl dreaming of finding a man on a tractor. There was no tractor on stage with him last night, but I didn't need one to come to the conclusion that Kenny Chesney is sexy...

It's impossible to compare KC to AC/DC; it's like comparing apples to oranges. But I'm considering myself pretty damned lucky to have seen two of the best concerts of my life in less than two weeks. Last night, sweet seats with a closer proximity to the stage only added to the awesome experience. It felt like we could reach out and touch him.

One thing is for certain: It better not be another 16 years before he comes back to see us. I'm not sure we could wait that long again!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Update: Flyers Lose vs. Sun Valley CA Rude Pac

A quick update on Flyers action today at the ToC: They lost vs. Sun Valley CA Rude Pac 7-0. Unfortunately the on-line radio feed was down for most of the game; I was only able to listen from the 5th inning on, and by then the Quyon boys were already down by 4. From the reports I've read, Joran Graham started the game on the mound, and was relieved by Chad Hargrove in the 3rd, with Hargrove taking the loss.

Tomorrow, they play an unranked team from Dubuque, Iowa, at 8:30 AM. Will post results as soon as I find out what happens!


Big First Day for Flyers at ToC

How 'bout a little fastball chatter today??

For those of you who don't know, our very own Quyon COMBAT Flyers are currently participating in the ISC II Tournament of Champions in Quad Cities, Illinois/Iowa. The Flyers earned a berth at the prestigious tournament earlier this summer after participating in a qualifying tournment in Au Sable Forks, NY.

Ranked #27 out of 40 teams, the young Flyers squad will have their work cut out for them, and by no means are they expected to even come close to winning the tournament. But they've worked hard to get there this season, and they hope to fare better than they did two years ago, when they lost all of their games in their first appearance at the ToC.

Yesterday was their first day in action, and it's pretty clear that they hit the field ready to prove they deserved to be their amongst the elite. Entering the tournament better prepared from their past experience, they won both of their games against higher-ranked teams, and one has to think that they must be turning some heads down there.

Their first game was against the #5 ranked Kitchener-Waterloo Cubs, and they lay a 10-5 beating on them. Joran Graham was the winning pitcher, with relief from Orleans recruit Chad Hargrove. Graham also hit a home run for the Flyers in that game.

In their second game, they took on the #17 ranked Lloydminster Dodgers, and manage a 7-6 victory. Hargrove took the win, with Matt Greer hitting a walk-off single to seal the victory.

For more complete game reports, you can check out the following links:

The first two links are more locally-based, and the guys are updating the administrators directly via text messages. The ISC website posts the complete game box scores and play-by-plays.

Today, the boys will take on Sun Valley, CA Rude Pac, the #12 ranked team in the tournament, at 12 PM ET. That game can be heard live at . I plan on listening, and you can bet if the boys manage another win, I'll be back to report on that!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The AC/DC Blog

It's been a week since I woke up the morning after AC/DC, still feeling all tingly and excited from one of the best concerts I've ever been to.

So yeah, I guess it's about time for the AC/DC Blog!!

First of all, let me say this, and I'm sure it's been said before - for old guys, they sure can rock! I've never been to a concert with such a high energy level, from start to finish. People on their feet from the very begninning, when they kicked things off with "Rock N Roll Train", right through to the grande finale, "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)".

Fireworks. Pyrotechnics. A giant bell that came swinging down for "Hells Bells". A huge inflatable woman that rode the train throughout "Whole Lotta Rosie". A platform in the centre of the arena that Angus Young climbed onto during his amazing, never-ending guitar solo that rose up in the air and then shot sparkling confetti upon the masses. Cannons firing deafeningly.

For fans who've been to AC/DC shows in the past, or watched footage on DVD, perhaps this was all expected AC/DC schtick. But for me, at my first AC/DC concert, and having seen little of my brother's vast DVD collection, it was all new. And it was all pretty frickin' cool.

Fans of all ages sported blinking red devil horns, and when the lights went down at Scotiabank Place, it seemed the entire building was vibrating with red. As I said, they kicked things off right with "Rock N Roll Train", easily the biggest hit of their latest album Black Ice. It was hard to pick a part of the concert that wasn't amazing, but for me, highlights were the standard AC/DC hits - "Thunderstruck", "Back in Black", "Highway to Hell", "Hells Bells", "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap", "You Shook Me All Night Long", and "For Those About to Rock".

But I was also introduced to some AC/DC that I hadn't really paid much attention to before. For instance, the slow sexy build-up in "The Jack" - I loved it. Ah yes, and it was during this song that we were all treated to the infamous Angus striptease. A scrawny 60-year-old man with stringy hair and pale, sweaty skin, baring his spindly body...and the crowd goes wild. If you'd asked me beforehand why, I'd have told you I have no idea. But there, standing amongst the legions of AC/DC fans, I found myself hooting and screaming right along with them.

As for the new songs, they were all pretty decent AC/DC fare. "Big Jack" is already a hit, and the crowd lapped it up. My personal favourite was "Anything Goes". The only one I wished they'd played off the new album was "Money Made".

It truly is incredible to see men their age still churning out shows like this. They never seemed to get tired, never seemed to slow down. Singer Brian Johnson's voice held strong throughout, and considering his style, that's a miracle all on its own. And there was a small part of me that half-expected Angus to crumple to the stage floor and die, but there was no end to his on-stage antics - he ran around and played up to the crowd without fail.

Adding to the experience was the fact that we traveled to and from the show aboard a yellow school bus filled with pumped-up Pontiac AC/DC fans and coolers of booze. Our stop at the McDonald's in Aylmer on the way home is already legendary. I somehow managed to score a free Big Mac meal after the dude working that night forced us to hit the drive-thru on foot, and then when I tried to pay him for my food, he looked at me like I had three heads.

We didn't make it back to the Q until 2 AM, and by that time I was drained and groggy, and desperately needing my bed. But when I tried to fall asleep, it did not come easy, as the ringing from the 21-gun salute was still in my ears and memories of the show would not fade.

It was then that I realized I was sorry it was over already, and I did not want the night to end.

(A heads-up to readers: Before "Johnny Nash" shows up in the comments section and tells you all it was the worst concert he's ever been to and they sucked ass - please be advised that he slept through the show up in his luxury suite after a few too many drinks. He has no idea.)